Seeing vs. Knowing
Seeing is not only a function of sight, not only one of our five senses but it’s also a function of knowing. We see things all day long. We see other cars as we are driving, other houses as we are walking our dogs in our neighborhoods, and we see other people doing different things all throughout our day.
We see them with our sense of sight but are we seeing them to know them? In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus is eating a Pharisees house. His name is Simon. When hearing Jesus is there Mary came and anointed Jesus feet with a costly ointment and wiped them with her hair. Simon in his heart says, “If this man were a prophet he would know who and what manner of women this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” #judging
Jesus knows exactly what Simon is thinking…scary but he knows what we are all thinking…and he asks Simon a question. “Do you see this woman?” Everyone in the room saw her with their sight, but Jesus was asking something deeper. Simon had judged her for what she had done. She was a sinner. But Jesus saw her for who she was, a child of God, a broken person needing love and mercy.
It was a custom to have a person present in your home that was required to wash your guests feet as they entered your home. They wore sandals then and the roads were dusty. So people’s feet were always filthy. No one had washed Jesus feet as he entered Simons home to eat, but as Jesus points out from the time she entered she did not cease to wash his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair.
Even though Simon was correct, she was a sinner; her heart was what Jesus saw. He didn’t see it with his sight but by looking past what she had done to her heart. He saw repentance and love in her heart for him. He knew what that oil had cost her and why she was anointing his feet. It’s so easy to simply “see” people and to judge them by their appearance, their cloths, their actions, their weight…but Jesus is asking us to really see people, to look past the outward appearance and to see their need.
Jesus does this even while he is dying on the Cross. He looks down at the very men who nailed him there, looks past what they have done, and sees their need for what he is doing, dying for them. In his compassion he asks the Father to forgive them because they don’t really know what they are doing.
We all do dumb stuff. We all make mistakes. We must not view people by their mistakes but as people. It’s not your place to judge anyone for sinning. It’s your job to look past what people “do” to what they need. They need understanding and they need forgiveness. We are the hands and the feet of Jesus on this planet and if we don’t extend forgiveness and show compassion to the hurting who will?
It’s not your place to make sure someone realizes their mistakes and make sure they suffer some sort of consequence; it’s your job to reach down and help them up. It’s your job to show compassion because you’ve done something just as stupid at some point in your life. My sin may not look exactly like yours but Jesus doesn’t measure sin, it’s all sin to him.
It’s easy to ignore people when we label them. Let’s be those people who don’t just walk past someone and simply “see” them and label them by their appearance. Let’s be the ones who see to know, who look to understand, who will feel another’s pain and do something to about it.
Holy Spirit give us hearts filled with compassion for the lost and the hurting all around us, give us the courage to reach out and make a difference…